Natchitoches jury awards family $6 million verdict

Oct 13, 2008 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: The Shreveport Times

NATCHITOCHES - The family of a Fort Polk firefighter has been awarded more than $6 million by a Natchitoches jury, finding that the man's death Oct.

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Boogie Man

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Oct 13, 2008
 

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NATCHITOCHES — The family of a Fort Polk firefighter has been awarded more than $6 million by a Natchitoches jury, finding that the man’s death Oct. 25, 2002, was linked to a dangerous highway condition, the family’s attorney said in a news release.

The verdict Wednesday was the largest civil jury decision ever handed down in Natchitoches Parish, said attorney Jason E. Dunahoe of the Dunahoe Law Firm. The jury deliberated three hours after three days of testimony before finding the state of Louisiana responsible for a significant portion of the family’s damages.

Edward Raymond, a 16-year-old veteran of the Fort Polk Fire Department, died in a head-on collision on state Highway 117 south of Provencal in Natchitoches Parish. The crash occurred when Steven Taylor, the driver of the other vehicle, attempted to pass a log truck in the rain but didn’t realize he had entered a no passing zone until it was too late to avoid the collision, Dunahoe said. Raymond died at the scene. Taylor was later convicted of negligent homicide.

The location on state Highway 117 where the fatal accident occurred still does not have a “no passing zone” sign, Dunahoe said. Raymond’s widow and children alleged in their lawsuit that the state was partly to blame because of the absence of a sign warning motorists of the “unreasonably dangerous condition of the highway.”

The Dunahoe Law Firm was lead counsel for Raymond’s widow and children, and the Thomas Law Firm also represented two of Raymond’s children.
Boogie Man

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#2
Oct 13, 2008
 
iTOLDuSO wrote:

I believe that one of the requirements for being issued a drivers license in the first place is to know what those solid yellow lines on the road mean.....
10/13/2008 4:38:43 PM I believe that one of the requirements for being issued a drivers license in the first place is to know what those solid yellow lines on the road mean..... iTOLDuSO
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Chinquapin wrote:

The state isn't paying this, the TAXPAYERS--YOU AND I-- are paying it, and Dunahoe, et al, are making money out of our pockets.

It's this kind of crap that keeps our car insurance rates among the highest in the nation. And you tell me we don't need tort reform???
10/13/2008 4:24:04 PM The state isn't paying this, the TAXPAYERS--YOU AND I-- are paying it, and Dunahoe, et al, are making money out of our pockets.<br /><br />It's this kind of crap that keeps our car insurance rates among the highest in the nation. And you tell me we don't need tort reform??? Chinquapin
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ShreveWatcher wrote:

The state doesn't have a "No Driving Off The Bridge" sign posted on the Jimmy Davis Bridge either. Looks like a lawsuit waiting to happen...
I Hate Stupid Drivers

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#3
Oct 13, 2008
 
I have driven 117 many times. In broad daylight I have almost been hit by stupid idiots who do not know how to drive and pass when they should not. I have also been following stupid idiots who I thought would be killed or kill someone else by passing when they should not. The worst drivers in the world are right here in Natchitoches.

“Expect Excellence”

Since: Mar 08

Natchitoches, LA

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Oct 13, 2008
 

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I Hate Stupid Drivers wrote:
I have driven 117 many times. In broad daylight I have almost been hit by stupid idiots who do not know how to drive and pass when they should not. I have also been following stupid idiots who I thought would be killed or kill someone else by passing when they should not. The worst drivers in the world are right here in Natchitoches.
I too "hate" stupid drivers but let's face it, as long as driver's licenses are given to idiots they will continue to endanger others. In a sense it is the taxpayer's fault for electing the lawyers to legislate. Conflict of interest? Absolutely.
Wondering

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#5
Oct 15, 2008
 
I have driven that hwy every day my entire life. Not once have I ever had a problem driving in the rain on it and not being able to know if I can pass or not. There should be a cap on frivilous lawsuits such as this like there are on medical suits. Ridiculous. If they were serious about the lawsuit, they'd use the money to put up signs on this hwy and others to prevent accidents like that from happening againt. But they won't, they'll be living large on death money donated by the taxpayers.
City Onlooker

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#6
Oct 15, 2008
 
Isn't there a 500,000 cap on damages when suing the state?

Since: Sep 07

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Oct 15, 2008
 

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This lawsuit wasn't frivolous. My heart goes out to the Raymond family who lost a husband and father.
There should be a cap

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Oct 16, 2008
 

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City Onlooker wrote:
Isn't there a 500,000 cap on damages when suing the state?
There should be a cap on the fees that attorneys receive for such. It is obscene that these attorneys take so much (33-50%) of the money. If the money is needed for the injured person or their family, then it should be given to the family. A cap on attorney fees would help. Why should this law firm get $2-3 million of the money? GREED is not a good answer.
What the hell

Natchitoches, LA

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#9
Oct 16, 2008
 

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I was there that day but I was not selected as a juror. The greedy lawyers were smart to bump me or we would STILL be in there lowering this ridiculous amount.
lil man

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Oct 16, 2008
 

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Wondering wrote:
I have driven that hwy every day my entire life. Not once have I ever had a problem driving in the rain on it and not being able to know if I can pass or not. There should be a cap on frivilous lawsuits such as this like there are on medical suits. Ridiculous. If they were serious about the lawsuit, they'd use the money to put up signs on this hwy and others to prevent accidents like that from happening againt. But they won't, they'll be living large on death money donated by the taxpayers.
I know alot people living on death money donated by the taxpayers. If it was your family you would had done the same thing.
Death money would you call that also when someones child dies in a boat accident and they collect a million dollars and blames the boat company cause they child fell out of the boat? I would say that is the parents for not taking care of the child. They damn sure collected a million dollars and lived well on death money. A widows husband or wife dies and leaves a good life insurance? Are you also calling that living on death money.
The State is the blame for the roads in the shape they are in. WHO IS THE BLAME, WE THE TAX PAYERS FOR KEEP PUTTING IN ASSHOLES IN OFFICES AND NOT HELPING TO MAKE OUR ROADS SAFER.
With that said, have a good evening.
lil man

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Oct 16, 2008
 

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There should be a cap wrote:
<quoted text>
There should be a cap on the fees that attorneys receive for such. It is obscene that these attorneys take so much (33-50%) of the money. If the money is needed for the injured person or their family, then it should be given to the family. A cap on attorney fees would help. Why should this law firm get $2-3 million of the money? GREED is not a good answer.
Then you got GREED with every attorney in this town. They are hungry...How do you think George Celles got his start. His brother in law jumping in that pool and now can not walk. It was the pool companys fault. David now is an attorney.
hmm

Natchitoches, LA

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#12
Oct 16, 2008
 
Ok I understand that the person lost their life due to a "wreckless driver" but if he was at fault in the accident then why does the state get sued. I mean look at all of our roads there are lawsuits everywhere that can be made from the condition of the roads, it all broiled down to someone in a hurry to go somewhere. I traveled many times and NEVER have had the thought to pass someone where that accident occurred. Point blank the person who was passing caused the wreck, it obviously wasn't safe for him to pass which is a requirement of state law, and they won based on the fact there was no sign? I mean really how many people pay attention to the sign or even follow it's directions? Hell most people don't know what the dashed lines mean. But a 6 Million Settlement? For What? A Sign? So does this mean anywhere there is a double yellow line there has to be a sign? Damn, next we will have to have a lit sign stating something, people in this state need to learn how to drive and driving offenses should be taken seriously by law enforcement and the judicial system. We have a high fatality rate in the parish and it has got to stop. But a 6 million dollar settlement is just riducious, the blame is on the other driver who was in a hurry and didn't pay attention. So does he get to sue the state too? Does he get 6 Million also? When will these frivoulous lawsuits stop? So this family now gets to win the lottery so to speak, courtesy of our taxpayers. I understand someone died, but is the state really to blame? STUPID STUPID STUPID.

Now an argument over the poor road conditions, improper striping ( if you notice they only apply a thin layer that is hard to see at night or during bad weather), improper road repairs, pitting of the roads holding water, etc, then maybe there's a case.
cannot believe

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#13
Oct 16, 2008
 
BigSean wrote:
This lawsuit wasn't frivolous. My heart goes out to the Raymond family who lost a husband and father.
my heart also goes out to this family, BUT so does OUR money now, regardless if we feel for them or not this was just plain STUPID lawsuit

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Oct 16, 2008
 

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cannot believe wrote:
my heart also goes out to this family, BUT so does OUR money now, regardless if we feel for them or not this was just plain STUPID lawsuit
Really?

The judge found merit in the case and didn't dismiss it.

The jurors obviously found merit in the plaintiff's case, enough to award damages in that amount.

The defendant will almost certainly appeal and damages often get reduced tremendously or the parties settle.

Without knowing the particulars of this case (especially the dismissed potential juror who was admittedly prejudicial), I find it amazing that folks will rail against the widowed plaintiff.
DIXIE

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#15
Oct 16, 2008
 
hmm wrote:
Ok I understand that the person lost their life due to a "wreckless driver" but if he was at fault in the accident then why does the state get sued. I mean look at all of our roads there are lawsuits everywhere that can be made from the condition of the roads, it all broiled down to someone in a hurry to go somewhere. I traveled many times and NEVER have had the thought to pass someone where that accident occurred. Point blank the person who was passing caused the wreck, it obviously wasn't safe for him to pass which is a requirement of state law, and they won based on the fact there was no sign? I mean really how many people pay attention to the sign or even follow it's directions? Hell most people don't know what the dashed lines mean. But a 6 Million Settlement? For What? A Sign? So does this mean anywhere there is a double yellow line there has to be a sign? Damn, next we will have to have a lit sign stating something, people in this state need to learn how to drive and driving offenses should be taken seriously by law enforcement and the judicial system. We have a high fatality rate in the parish and it has got to stop. But a 6 million dollar settlement is just riducious, the blame is on the other driver who was in a hurry and didn't pay attention. So does he get to sue the state too? Does he get 6 Million also? When will these frivoulous lawsuits stop? So this family now gets to win the lottery so to speak, courtesy of our taxpayers. I understand someone died, but is the state really to blame? STUPID STUPID STUPID.
Now an argument over the poor road conditions, improper striping ( if you notice they only apply a thin layer that is hard to see at night or during bad weather), improper road repairs, pitting of the roads holding water, etc, then maybe there's a case.
WHERE THERE DOUBLE LINES MEANING NOT TO PASS? YOU CAN NOT PUT A PRICE ON A LIFE. I WOULD RATHER SEE ANY FAMILY THAT HAS LOST A LOVE ONE GET THE MONEY THAN THOSE IN OFFICE STEAL IT.BUT THAT LIL MAN MENTION THAT BOAT ACCIDENT, THAT WAS NOT THE BOAT COMPANIES FAULT. THE DRIVER WAS DRINKING BUT SOME HOW THEY WON THE CASE. AGAIN AS I SAID, YOU CAN NOT PUT A PRICE ON SOMEONES LIFE.
cannot believe

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#16
Oct 16, 2008
 
BigSean wrote:
<quoted text>
Really?
The judge found merit in the case and didn't dismiss it.
The jurors obviously found merit in the plaintiff's case, enough to award damages in that amount.
The defendant will almost certainly appeal and damages often get reduced tremendously or the parties settle.
Without knowing the particulars of this case (especially the dismissed potential juror who was admittedly prejudicial), I find it amazing that folks will rail against the widowed plaintiff.
hey, i'm not railing against the widow, as I said my heart goes out to her, i just don't see how it is right that my money does to
Bystander

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#17
Oct 16, 2008
 
I've driven that road many times and I can't hardly imagine passing someone in broad daylight with bone dry road conditions, let alone at night with rainy conditions. But I guess if a lawyer can make a case, we all have to pay.

hmm, the poster from above, you're right, I imagine most people don't even notice the no pass zone signs. Most people follow the directions of the yellow solid lines or dotted lines.
hmm

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#18
Oct 16, 2008
 
Bystander wrote:
I've driven that road many times and I can't hardly imagine passing someone in broad daylight with bone dry road conditions, let alone at night with rainy conditions. But I guess if a lawyer can make a case, we all have to pay.
hmm, the poster from above, you're right, I imagine most people don't even notice the no pass zone signs. Most people follow the directions of the yellow solid lines or dotted lines.
That's my point exactly you are supposed to drive with some type of due reguard anyway, and even if it was a passing zone, it obviously wasn't safe to do so. Any many people who travel that road know it is a death trap all together mainly because it is a road with alot of curves and hills and has no shoulders, but people drive on it like a bat out of hell. This is one reason you won't get me on that road unless it is an absolute necessity, I would rather drive through many. The whole thing is the person who hit him was responsible for his actions, the state didn't tell him to pass someone becuase he was not satisfied at the speed they were driving.

I am not saying I am not sympatheic to the family but this is a frivolous lawsuit I don't care who found merit in it. If anything sue the person who caused the wreck, but the state over a sign? Come on!
DIXIE

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#19
Oct 17, 2008
 
hmm wrote:
<quoted text>
That's my point exactly you are supposed to drive with some type of due reguard anyway, and even if it was a passing zone, it obviously wasn't safe to do so. Any many people who travel that road know it is a death trap all together mainly because it is a road with alot of curves and hills and has no shoulders, but people drive on it like a bat out of hell. This is one reason you won't get me on that road unless it is an absolute necessity, I would rather drive through many. The whole thing is the person who hit him was responsible for his actions, the state didn't tell him to pass someone becuase he was not satisfied at the speed they were driving.
I am not saying I am not sympatheic to the family but this is a frivolous lawsuit I don't care who found merit in it. If anything sue the person who caused the wreck, but the state over a sign? Come on!
WHILE YOUR DRIVING NOTICE SOME PLACES THAT THE STATE DOES NOT HAVE SIGNS TO WARN PEOPLE ABOUT. I DON'T KNOW ANY OF YOU, BUT IF THE SHOE WAS ON THE OTHER FOOT YOU WOULD HAD DONE THE SAME THING. SHE HAD A GOOD LAWYER AND HE DOES KNOW HIS STUFF.
THE MONEY WILL NOT BRING THE FAMILY BACK. BUT I BET IT DAMN SURE GOT THE STATE HWY DEPT. ATTENTION.
THE STATE PISSES OFF MORE MONEY THAN THAT ON CRAP WE DON'T NEED OR IT GOES IN SOMEONE ELSES POCKET.
AT LEAST A FAMILY THAT LOST A LOVE ONE GOT IT BEFORE SOMEONE IN PUBLIC OFFICE POCKETED IT.
Wondering

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#20
Oct 17, 2008
 
BigSean wrote:
<quoted text>
Really?
The judge found merit in the case and didn't dismiss it.
The jurors obviously found merit in the plaintiff's case, enough to award damages in that amount.
The defendant will almost certainly appeal and damages often get reduced tremendously or the parties settle.
Without knowing the particulars of this case (especially the dismissed potential juror who was admittedly prejudicial), I find it amazing that folks will rail against the widowed plaintiff.
Ok - I agree with you on some points. BUT - why $6 million? Is that what the family will lose from income over the rest of their lives from the loss of their husband/father? Where did that figure come from? I cannot understand any juror that would feel a family deserves to ge "filthy" rich off of the state because of a tragic accident. NO amount of money is going to make things better for the victim or anyone else that might fall victim to the same circumstances in the future. In my opinion, unless they are using the money for the good of the memory of the victim and not to live a life of luxury without him, it's a shame.

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